If I can’t touch my toes am I a bad yogi? How about if I can’t put my leg behind my head? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in the class who doesn’t like when the teacher speaks to Possibility. I usually can’t do Possibility very well. Holding Utkatasana for 20 breaths – yeah, I can do that... Tortoise pose? No fucking way can I do a straddle stretch and have my chest reach the floor. When the teacher cues a pose like this, I get so far inside my head it’s ridiculous. I go into judgment mode, I judge myself, and I judge the teacher. This happened today BIG TIME when I took class.
First, I judged myself – “I am a yoga teacher, so why can’t I do this pose? I’m probably not a good teacher because I can’t do it.” Then, I judge the teacher – “why does she cue poses like this? Can’t she see that I can’t do it?” Myself again - “Maybe if I had more time to practice yoga, I could do more advanced poses, but I can’t. I can’t even get to a yoga class during the workday.”All of this came up during a 60 minute practice. WOW!!! Major judgement huh? No wonder I left feeling completely unfulfilled.
Here is where at times I feel confusion. As yoga teachers, aren’t we are supposed to speak to Possibility. Allowing space for students to figure things out? Go deeper or further in an asana and find something new? We don’t’ want our yogis to feel bored or unchallenged. What’s the balance between giving Possibility but not making students feel like shit when they can’t do something the teacher can do? I wonder am I the only one feeling this way?
I know there are students in my classes that are working on Crow Pose (bakasana) – feeling frustrated because they can’t do it. Do I make them feel unfulfilled when I cue it in every practice I teach? I think it’s about me opening the door to Possibility, but just a peak – knowing when it is enough so if someone wants to go inside, they can reach out on their own – open the door and go inside. If they don’t want to, they can stay where they are (and the teacher acknowledges that it’s OK to stay where you are)... My style is to teach the practice in such a way to make everyone feel included. My goal is for every student to leave feeling amazing; satisfied, challenged and accomplished......which is filled with Possibility if you think about it.